KATHMANDU: The 6.8-magnitude quake that hit almost all parts of the country was the biggest since 1934, claims National Seismological Centre. The epicentre of the quake was along the Sikkim-Nepal border, about some 60 km off Sikkim’s capital Gangtok.
Traffic in Kathmandu came to a standstill as thousands of terrified residents poured on to the streets. Mobile networks were jammed as anxious people frantically tried to call their loved ones.
“The quake shook the Valley and most parts of the country for one minute,” said Som Nath Sapkota, senior seismologist at National Seismological Centre at Lainchaur. NSC also informed that 14 aftershocks of small magnitude were recorded within one hour of the quake.
• 1934: 8.4-magnitude — Highest casualties for any recorded earthquake in the history of Nepal. A total of 8,519 people lost lives, 1,26,355 houses damaged and 80,893 buildings destroyed
• 1980: 6.5-magnitude — Far western region hit – Baitadi, Bajhang, Darchula — 125 dead, 248 seriously injured, 11,604 buildings destroyed
• 1988 : 6.7-magnitude — epicentre in Udayapur, Eastern Development Region affected, 721 deaths, 64,174 private buildings, 790 government buildings damaged
Panic in parliament
Bemused lawmakers at the parliament meeting on Sunday evening suddenly stood up from their chairs and ran helter-skelter as the earthquake measuring 6.8 on Richter scale shook the meeting hall. While some hid under the chairs, others rushed out of the building into the open.
Unaware of the quake, Speaker Subas Nembang had requested the lawmakers to sit down. Nembang came to know about the quake only later and postponed the meeting for 15 minutes.